It is that time of year our T.V. screens fill with Christmas adverts, as carols and tinsel and stacks of goodies fill shopping centres spilling out into the aisles trying to cajole us into an empty fullness, a surface celebration numbed by an apparent plenty. Bah humbug? Well yes probably, I am not in the mood for Christmas celebrations this year, I can't summon up the desire to even think about beginning to prepare when it comes to food and decorations and all that apparent necessary stuff that the season demands.
I am tired of empty fullness, tired of the way that life seems to be overwhelmed with the trivial, tired of a life of reacting rather than responding because the treadmill we are all on to some extent just keeps turning beneath us. So I am going to stop, to step aside from the craziness for a while, take time to pause and observe a Celtic Advent. I am going to use the 40 days leading up to Christmas to have a spiritual clear out, to ask God to come into the dusty and dank recesses of my soul, the bits I hide even from myself, and clean me up.
I need to be refocused and recharged, I find myself at an unexpected crossroads and need to be reoriented, and I cannot do this for myself, I can only purposely give myself to the one who can, and that means letting go. Letting go of all that holds me back, of my own self protecting tendencies and the negative voices of my own making that surround me all too often. Of course this means repentance, turning again towards God and away from the things that are dragging me down.
Yes I am writing this while suffering from a bad bout of depression, but this time I want to find treasures in the darkness, I want to roll away the stone that is preventing the living waters from flowing freely within me. I want to kindle the flame, and fan it into life. I want to know love and joy and peace of Christ in a new deeper and fuller way...
So this weekend I will begin celebrating Advent, I could say observing but choose rather to celebrate, to look for those treasures that almost certainly lie within and will probably surprise me, I want to rediscover the gift of life that Jesus brings to us in all its fullness...
I will begin with a simple prayer:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139 vs. 23-24 NLT